It's summertime, we have half day Fridays, a few extra hours of daylight to get our cocktails going, and things are supposed to be easy, darn it! In a conscious effort to simplify our lives and celebrate the awesomeness of fresh summer produce, we're spending the whole season coming up with the absolute easiest, freshest, and tastiest summer dishes we can think of. On the menu today: figs, melon, Spanish ham, and basil in one gorgeous salad.
'basil' on Serious Eats
Pasta salad with raw tomatoes and basil is a common summertime dish. Here we give it a thoughtful upgrade by cooking the tomatoes just until bursting, so that they release their rich juices into a flavorful sauce that coats the pasta even when cooled. It's a new summertime must.
A sophisticated take on peaches and cream, this 3-ingredient smoothie combines fresh peaches, basil, and frozen kefir cubes.
This vegetable soup from Jody Williams' cookbook, Buvette: The Pleasure of Good Food, is impeccable—clean, light, and nourishing. Topped with a spoonful of heady pistou, it's the epitome of the harmony that can happen with a thoughtful collision of fresh ingredients.
In this recipe from her new cookbook, A Change of Appetite, Diana Henry elevates the classic caprese combo of mozzarella, tomato, and basil with the addition of nectarine. The ripe fruit adds a juicy sweetness that I never realized was missing. Dressed with just olive oil and white balsamic, every element shows at its best. So simple, so smart.
Soft braised leeks are accented with basil and rounded out with ricotta cheese for these simple, summery crostini.
This pesto sauce, through rounds and rounds of testing, has been honed to the perfect ratio, ingredients, and method. And while a mortar and pestle is a bit of work, the superior sauce it produces compared to a food processor can't be argued. This is the true, best pesto. Using a food processor, this ratio of ingredients will still produce a great sauce.
Chickpeas go a bit rogue in this pepperoni, lemon zest, and Parmesan-stippled salad—the perfect option for an oven-free, summertime side.
These quick and tender turkey burgers are packed with flavor, including a topping of pan-sautéed tomatoes, melted shallots, ricotta cheese, and basil. They're a delicious 30-minute meal.
I know I'm committing a grave seasonal recipe faux pas here by combining a spring ingredient (we're in the middle of asparagus season!) with a late summer product, but dammit, we've gotten so good at cherry tomatoes that they're sweet and flavorful pretty much all year round.
Pan-fried whitefish is the perfect blank canvas for a medley of fresh and bright summer flavors: sweet corn, red onion, avocado, tomatoes, and basil, all tossed in a bright lime vinaigrette. The resulting dish—quick and easy to prepare—is full of flavor and color, texture and tang.
It's easy to get friendly with mezcal when you're drinking this refreshing cranberry and basil-flavored spin on a classic julep.
Oven-roasted tomatoes get sweetness and depth from maple syrup and balsamic vinegar in this winter-friendly twist on traditional caprese salad.
Asian pear lends a delicate, floral sweetness to this light and refreshing juice, while the lemon and basil chat with each other in little bursts of excitement.
Tender poached eggs served with a ragout of corn, chorizo, scallions, and basil, and topped with brioche croutons toasted in chorizo oil.
This simple stir-fry combines Thai staples—fish sauce, palm sugar, lime juice, and peanuts—with easy-to-find ingredients—spinach, tofu, basil—for a spicy, crunchy, vegetarian main that comes together faster than you can cook a pot of rice.
Playing with a handful of ingredients that can walk the line between sweet and savory, this drink is a total crowd-pleaser. It starts with muddling juicy peaches and fresh basil, then adding a pour of London dry gin blended with beefsteak tomatoes.
Soothing, silky chicken in peanut sauce is served atop Chinese egg noodles with baby bok choy and baby corn.
As we move into the heart of summer and plump, juicy tomatoes begin to ripen on the vine, I start to crave panzanella. The simple, rustic salad from central Italy is made with stale bread and ripe tomatoes, epitomizing the classic Italian tradition of using leftover ingredients to create an amazing dish.
It's excruciating to wait for tomatoes to come into season. So when I found ripe little Sun Golds looking beautiful at the market, I wanted to celebrate. I dreamt of a dish that would highlight the unique character of the little tomatoes, putting them at the center of the plate.